A Touch or Scrape

It is funny how knowledge changes perception. I thought I knew all I needed to know about life; go to school, get a job, make money, happy life! What I was not seeing was the purpose of even wanting these things-the passion. But as life teaches you lessons when you least expect it, I learned about passion through a short, stubby, bald man named Mr. Jenkins.

You know how through the twist and turns of life, you ended up in a place you did not think was meant for you, but worked out in your favor? Well, life (my guidance counselor) put me through the twist and turns (late scheduling) of being admitted into a technology class I felt I would dread for the rest of the semester. Monday morning, I dragged myself into Mr. Jenkins’s first period HP Manufacturing class, a yawn filling my throat as I was prepared to be bored.

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Mr. Jenkins walked in and swept the air from my yawn away. He was a 5 foot 2 man with the confidence of a 6 foot 2 giant. His brown eyes glistened with a sparkle I thought was odd for being in a technology class. He greeted the class with a smile and went on to talk about how excited he was to teach us.

“Good morning!” he bellowed, “Welcome to HP Manufacturing, I am Mr. Jenkins and I am going to take you through the beautiful science of machinery!”

“Beautiful science of machinery?”, how odd I thought, for someone to not only think machinery was “beautiful”, but to be excited about teaching a bunch of kids he had just met. However, by this behavior, I was intrigued from the start.

Mr. Jenkins led us into “the lab”, and began showing us around his masterpieces, which at first just seemed like a bunch of steel to me-the drill that quickly emitted holes into whatever touched its surface, the machine that swiftly polished and smoothed everything to a glistening finish, and the lade in the corner that spewed silver chips of aluminum as the smooth cutter slowly drilled into it. Itching with curiosity, I begged Mr. Jenkins to let me try out the machines.

Throughout the rest of the semester, as the other students walked into Mr. Jenkins class with yawns that were once my own, I grew more and more interested. Mr. Jenkins did not just teach, he loved his job, woke up every morning and breathed life into it. He had an insatiable desire to create magic with what he did-he had passion. It was not the class itself, but the attitude Mr. Jenkins had towards it that made the difference. I began to soak in his contagious enthusiasm for what he loved. As he slowly stepped me through the construction of a mill and how it can be used to make countless things, I instantly regretted dreading the class. I thought, “Who am I, to judge ones passion without yet knowing my own?”

I was determined to find my own passion, but the journey was unnecessary, since passion was obviously an everyday thing. I realized passion was not always the future, but what you loved now. What I loved was writing. I loved the same way holding a cutter in my hands and gliding it through to smooth out a project was the same as holding a pen and dragging it across the page to create a beautifully detailed story. Mr. Jenkins taught me that no matter what, doing what you feel inside and what you love is what will truly make you happy, not taking the generalization of others and making it my own.

At the end of the semester, I decided to leave Mr. Jenkins’s class for a journalism class. As much as I would miss his direction and inspiration, it was time to follow my passion, to follow what I would wake up every morning to love and live, the same as Mr. Jenkins did in his manufacturing class. It is funny how experience changes perception, and my experience in Mr. Jenkins class led me to use patience to view the world through a different prism. Like a piece of aluminum slowly put through a cutter to sharpen and smooth out its edges, patience can allow you to turn your life into a masterpiece.

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